Would you tell?

It’s that time when the latest crop of Infertility bloggers I follow are now pregnant. This is the second time in my four years. Seems to be that it happens in two year cycles. Another blogger recently wrote about feeling isolated and I can relate to that.  It’s a definite feeling of being left behind.

What I have noticed of late is that these bloggers are posting their news (in this instance, none are anonymous) at 5 and 6 weeks. They are even arranging events to surprise and tell their families.

It’s reminded me that there is a difference between the infertile community and the infertility+repeat pregnancy loss community.

After 3 miscarriages, a BFP would be exciting but is no longer an event worth telling the world about. It’s the start of an even harder and longer wait. One that has yet to end in heartbreak.

I admire their optimism and in some ways, naivety, at their the belief that the hard part is over. When I see those early announcements every part of my body hopes that’s the only one they have to make.

I know there is a belief that you should celebrate and enjoy being pregnant even if that’s only for 6, 7, 8 or 9 weeks but I don’t think I could do that anymore.

What about you? Would you tell? When?

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2015 Can Kiss My A**

*Warning: language alert*  If you are offended by swearing, don’t read any further but do read this article.

Goodbye 2015. I fucking hated you and you were the worst year of my life.

2015 was filled with loss – not just our angel babies but also family members and friendships. It was a year of immense heartbreak.

There were issues, challenges and changes at work and the latter half of the year saw the constant worry of layoffs.

There were situations with our families in various forms that tested the relationships and while some have survived, others have not.

Our circle of friends has struggled too – with layoffs, family issues, illness and more. Consequently, we have struggled with how to be there for them when we are barely managing to look after ourselves.

Our vacations, Christmas and New Year’s were all tainted by “what should have been” or by the miscarriages happened days before we left.

We both hit rock bottom.  It took different forms but for me, 2015 broke me.  It beat me down and 2015 has changed me.  I feel as though I no longer have the mental strength or resilience to manage anymore.  I received a kind note from a former colleague who was sorry to hear of our recent challenges through reading our blog.  He said “You’re a light to all those who know you…a spark plug of energy, and it is infectious.”  I laughed out loud.  I barely remember that version of myself and I doubt anyone would say that now.  How sad.

Please don’t be one of those people that comment and say “be thankful for what you have” or “there had to be some good things that happened” or “at least you have your health/job/insert something you think I should be grateful for”.  You didn’t live my life and I didn’t live yours.  Of course there are people out there who are suffering and who have it “worse” than I do.  My hubby and I chose to deal with that by giving very generously to the organizations that help those people and we have made a point of doing so this year.

But their problems don’t make my problems go away and it doesn’t change the fact I still hate 2015.  It was a terrible year.

Tomorrow will bring a new year, a new day and some new revelations and resolutions.

Until then, 2015 you can kiss my ass good-bye.

How to “Get Over” a Miscarriage

This post was inspired by a co-worker who doesn’t know that I know about their miscarriage.  I didn’t know how or what to say to them.  So in a perfect world it would have been something like this…

You will never “get over” your miscarriage.  Why the title then? Because after our first loss that’s what I googled in a vain attempt to find to something on the internet that would help ease the pain and bring some comfort.  But no, you will never “get over it”. You will never forget the loss of your unborn child(ren) and that’s ok.  They are always in your heart and always with you.  Over time, it will become easier.  There will still be days where it hits you like a smack in the face. You will read something, see something or remember a date (due dates, anniversaries of the loss) and it will hit you hard.  Those days will never go away, you will just get better at dealing with them.

So what does help? My ideas and thoughts are below, feel free to add yours to the list.

Be sad.  Allow yourself the time to grieve and the time to be sad.  Know that you and your partner will handle grief differently so allow yourselves time to grieve alone and at each other’s own pace.  Cry.  Just let yourself cry.  And after the initial shock and sadness, make sure you find some time to be sad together.  Wallow in the misery together for a bit.  It helps to know the other person is hurting too.

If you can (and I know not everyone can do this), take some time off work.  A few days to absorb the reality of what has happened, to cry and sleep a lot.  To just be in pain.

Don’t put a time limit on the pain and don’t pressure yourself to “move on”.  Take the time you need.  Do not let people belittle your loss.  It doesn’t matter how many weeks it was or how quickly you got pregnant or “at least you know you can get pregnant” or how many miscarriages someone else had before they had children – none of that helps, none of that matters.  This is your loss and your story.

Find a way to memorialize the loss together.  Trust me on this one.  It will feel awkward at first but you will be glad you did it.  We didn’t do this with the first one and as a result I feel  we didn’t really bring closure to the loss until much later.  Memorializing the loss is what the living do to help manage the death of a loved one.  Your child lived and it deserves a goodbye – you don’t have to do a funeral but something to bring closure helps.   After the second loss we wrote a note to the baby together (If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever) and then we burned it (in the jungle in Bali) and said good-bye.  With the third we did a memorial walkWe named all three of them. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t know the gender.  We had a feeling in our hearts and having a name helped us say good-bye. Others have planted trees or purchased plants, others have made donations, got a tattoo – I bought a necklace for all 3. The point is,  just find something that is meaningful for the two of you and do it.

If you don’t have to be alone, don’t.  It can be a very isolating feeling and you are not alone.  I look forward to the day where there isn’t a stigma about talking about miscarriage.  Telling close friends and family can get you an “out”.  A free pass from having to live up to social obligations for a while – take it and use it. It is a also a really good opportunity to find out who your friends are!  If you really don’t want to or can’t tell anyone, then find solace and comfort in a community on the internet.  Search “miscarriage” on Pinterest and you will quickly see you that you are most definitely not alone.

Be angry.  People forget that anger is a part of the grieving process and by goodness you are going to be angry.  Let it happen.  Yell and scream in your car, your house, the shower – whatever. I have a journal, this blog and a psychologist.  All places where I can be very angry and very ugly if I need to be and it is judgement free.  So just go for it.

Exercise.  It releases chemicals in your brain that mimic anti-depressants.  Get out there and do it, even if it is just a walk with your partner for now.

Take comfort in the fact that one day there will be more good days than bad days.  Don’t rush yourself, it will come. And if doesn’t come or you don’t feel like you are moving forward after giving yourself time to grieve – then get some help.  Talk to your doctor.

Oh and one more thing – drink the wine, eat the sushi, have brie – because you can!

IMG_4689If you are interested in an awesome memorial necklace, be sure to check out The Charmed Wife on Etsy.

 

If Only

If Baby 2 (whom we named Daisy) had survived, she would have been born sometime around this week or next.

She was our IVF baby and we were elated that the IVF had been successful. The IVF process itself had not been pleasant for me. But that’s another post.

The fertility clinic books the 7 week ultrasound for you. You get to go to a special part of the radiology clinic (all in the same building). I was terrified. Once you have been there before, you know The Fear. Most people think they are scared, but it doesn’t happen to them so they don’t really ever know  The Fear.  Or their miscarriage happens with bleeding. Not a lot of people get to experience an ultrasound where you are told there is no heartbeat without any warning. Trust me when I say this. And once it happens to you, there is no turning back. No period in time where you will ever not have The Fear.

The Tech was kind and she did the ultrasound and quietly told us she could not see a heartbeat. We asked for the measurements and it was measuring exactly the right size. There is no grey area with measurements when it is IVF, you know the gestational age to just about the hour. The radiologist came in and told us that he believed it was a missed miscarriage. But because the baby was the right size we asked to see our fertility clinic doctor.

Our doctor said the same thing.

We asked to wait another week and they reluctantly agreed and scheduled another ultrasound for a week later.

I worked that week. I honestly can’t tell you what I even did. I think I was busy. I think I was even efficient – in between intermittent crying periods – because I was dying inside. I was empty.

A week later the tech barely bothered to do a proper ultrasound. The fetal pole was gone. The dead tissue absorbed into the sac. A confirmed fetal demise.

The options were presented, a D&C or try to pass it myself with misoprostol. They push the misoprostol (after all it is non-surgical) and it had worked with the first miscarriage so I decided to try it again.

We had guests come that weekend, it was just before Easter. I don’t recommend houseguests when having a miscarriage. I did the first round and passed a bit of blood, clots and tissue. I went for an ultrasound the next morning at the clinic. The sac was still there. I was given a second round. It is supposed to work with two doses for 80% of people. I didn’t pass anything. We have the most amazing luck with statistics, only it never seems work for lottery tickets.

Next ultrasound and it was clear that the sac was still there.   Misoprostol round 3.

I tried everything with round 3. A hot bath, Advil, cinnamon, you name it.   And still nothing passed.

It was this moment where I stopped believing in God. I am sorry if that offends you.

Three rounds of sitting on the toilet with cramping and pain and waiting for my large blood clot to pass so I can flush my baby down the toilet. And still nothing.

Sunday I was put on alert for an emergency D&C. Monday morning I was instructed to go and sit in emergency. 9 hours later I was discharged from the hospital. D&C completed. Baby gone and over $10,000 poorer with nothing to show for it.

We left two days later for Hong Kong. I continued to pass blood and have excruciating cramps during our four days of sight-seeing. The heat and humidity made everything worse. Sometimes I had to go back to the hotel and just sleep. We then travelled to Bali where we had booked an incredible private villa with our pool. A pool I wasn’t allowed to go in, near an ocean I couldn’t swim in for fear of infection.   What a tragic f**king joke.

I wonder what she would have looked like, our Daisy.

Wonder

Microblog: Pity vs Empathy

Pity:  the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

It’s a subtle difference but it is there.  I don’t need you to feel sorry for me but I do need you to try and understand and to try and support us in our journey.

Pity: “I can’t imagine how hard this is for you – you must find it so painful to even carry on trying”.

Empathy: “I am sorry you have to go through this and I am sure it isn’t easy to keep trying”.

See the difference?

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October 15

It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.   Tonight we will light a candle for our three Angel Babies and we will remember them.  Jonah. Daisy. Amal. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them or where I “should be” in the pregnancy I most recently lost.  I would have found out the gender by now. I should be wearing maternity clothes.  We would have started shopping for things and painting the room.  All dreams  and wishes and nothing more.

I hope that one day the stigma of talking about miscarriage will be gone.  I hope one day couples won’t chose to go through the pain alone and isolated in their misery.  I hope that one day we can support each other better.

Let’s start to open up the dialogue like clinical psychologist Jessica Zucker has with her Honest Miscarriage Cards.

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Bad Luck

Please stop asking me why.

I know, it is easier for those left behind to cling to why.  Everyone wants a reason for tragic events.

You can trust us that no one wants an answer more than we do and we don’t have one so please stop asking why.  Because “why” implies there was  something we could have done.  If we knew why then we can say, “oh next time I won’t eat green beans” or some other silly thing we can cling to with false hope.  But ultimately there is no answer and there is no reason why. Something was wrong with the fetus.  The body aborted it.  End of story.  End of our hopes and dreams for the third time.  If  you think that’s hard to understand, imagine being us.  Or any couple that lost a baby too soon.

It is a statistical game and one that we are very bad at (or good, depending on how you look at the world).  1 in 6 couples have unexplained infertility.  20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.  There was a 5% chance we would miscarry after the BFP following our IVF cycle.  We had a 5% chance of miscarriage after seeing the heartbeat at 7 weeks.

Five F**king percent.  We are very good at being that minority.

I wish there was a 5% chance of winning the lottery.